A mystery disease is plaguing Australia’s rainbow lorikeet population leaving them paralysed and unable to fly.
Queensland’s RSPCA has reported a surge in cases of Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome (LPS) which can be cured with early intervention however many birds die if treated too late.
The cause is unknown and it is considered one of Australia’s most significant wildlife diseases as it affects thousands of birds in Queensland and New South Wales.
Thousands were left devastated after the animal rescue organisation shared an image of four little lorikeets, Mash, Chippy, Tater and Spud, afflicted with the disease in a wildlife rehabilitation centre.
‘A mysterious toxin causing our rainbows of the sky to be unable to walk, eat, blink and eventually unable to move at all, LPS is now considered one of Australia’s most significant wildlife diseases,’ RSCPA QLD said.
Rainbow lorikeets in New South Wales and Queensland are under threat of a potentially deadly disease, Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome
‘The cause of LPS still remains unknown. However, researchers are exploring the possibility it is caused by the ingestion of a toxic plant in the southern Queensland and northern NSW region.’
Rescuers said the syndrome occurs mainly between October and June with cases peaking between December and February.
If sick lorikeets get treatment for LPS early they have a better chance of survival but they will need weeks to months of round-the-clock intensive care to be fully rehabilitated.
‘Upon arrival, our Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre at Eumundi team gave Mash, Chippy, Tater and Spud, a comprehensive health assessment, starting with radiographs to ensure they have not sustained additional injuries,’ the post continued.
Queensland’s RSPCA has reported a surge in cases of Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome which can be cured with early intervention however many birds die if treated too late
‘Then their treatment for LPS began with fluid therapy, pain relief, nutritional support, regular bed changes and baths, as well as administrating of eye drops to combat their inability to blink.’
Sadly Spud died from LPA but the other three are continuing to show ‘incredible improvement’ and are now able to perch and self feed again.
Symptoms of LPS include an inability to fly, paralysis of the legs and wings, hobbling and wobbling, voice changes and in serious cases an inabaility to blink or swallow.
The RSPCA urges anyone who sees a lorikeets displaying any symptoms to seek them help immediately by calling the organisation’s 24/7 emergency hotline 1300 ANIMAL (264 625).